Teck Announces Elkview Incident
Teck Resources Limited announced that there has been a significant pressure event at the dryer at Teck’s Elkview mine. There were no adverse health or environmental impacts. Work is ongoing to assess the extent of the damage and the potential impact on production. Elkview continues to operate at a reduced production rate using the unaffected facilities at the mine. It is too soon to estimate the extent of any downtime or loss of production as a result of the event.
News reports note that dryer explosions occurred at the Greenhills mine in 2010 and 2015. In both incidents the mines were temporarily shut down. Here are reports on the incidents:
Teck Greenhills dryer explosion June 29, 2010
Teck Greenhills dryer explosion April 5, 2015
About Coal Dryers
Fire and explosion hazards are inherent in thermal coal dryers. Incidents are most common where high temperatures are employed, the sizes and volatility of material handled are capable of propagating explosions, and drying gases are seldom, if ever, low enough in oxygen content to prevent ignitions of dust clouds, distilled gases, or their combinations.
Teck is Canada’s largest diversified mining company and has major business units focused on copper, metallurgical coal, zinc, gold and energy. Teck operates five steelmaking coal mines in the Elk Valley which employ over 4,000 people. Steelmaking coal is an essential ingredient in the production of steel. Also called metallurgical or coking coal, it is necessary for building infrastructure such as rail, bridges and schools and improving the quality of life for people around the world. Steel and steelmaking coal used to make it are also required for everything from clean energy projects like wind or solar power to transportation alternatives like rapid transit, buses and hybrid vehicles.
Elkview Operations is located approximately three kilometres east of Sparwood. Teck has a 95% partnership interest in Elkview. The remaining 5% is indirectly held equally by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, a Japanese steel producer, and POSCO, a Korean steel producer, each of which acquired a 2.5% interest in 2005.
The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant (on a 100% basis) are approximately 7.0 million and 7.0 million tonnes of clean coal, respectively. Proven and probable reserves at Elkview are projected to support mining at planned production rates for a further 41 years.